Online banks are the way of the future. Canada is pushing toward a cashless society, aiming to drop cash payments by 70% by 2030, according to Moneris. Without the need to deposit or withdraw cash, we don’t necessarily need in-person bank branches anymore.
Online banks typically have lower fees and higher interest rates on savings or investment accounts. That’s because they don’t have the same overhead as traditional bank branches, and the savings are passed on to you.
As Canadians, we have access to many online banks, each one with different features, advantages and disadvantages. The best option for you will depend on your banking needs, what you’re looking for and where you live. We’ve rounded up the 14 best online banks in Canada for 2022 to help you decide which one is the best for you.
- Why should you use an online bank?
- The best online banks in Canada
- Online banks in Canada: The Takeaway
- FAQs About Online Banks in Canada
Why should you use an online bank?
As a society, we are always seeking more convenient ways of doing things, including banking. Driving to your bank branch during their opening hours to pay bills, transfer money or deposit cash is incredibly time-consuming and inconvenient. As the saying goes, “time is money.”
Online banks, also called ‘neobanks,’ provide the convenience of banking from the palm of your hand via mobile apps or desktop online banking access. That means you’ll never need to visit a physical branch.
You’ll also receive better rates when using an online bank. This is because they don’t have the same operating costs as physical branches. You can even find chequing accounts that offer interest!
Online banks use modern software that integrates with many other financial management apps and tools. This way, you can easily optimize how you manage your money and track your spending. On top of that, online banks are entirely secure. All deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which is similar to traditional banks.
One of the downfalls of online banks is that you won’t get the same level of personal service as you would with a traditional bank. Everything is digital, including their customer support. If you want to pull out cash, you will likely have to pay ATM fees since you’ll be using ATMs tied to another banking network. But this may not be an issue if you don’t use cash often.
The best online banks in Canada
1. Neo Financial
Neo Financial is a digital bank launched by the founders of SkipTheDishes to offer a hassle-free, convenient online banking solution. Their digital bank accounts offer the perfect hybrid of a savings and chequing account with no monthly fees, unlimited free transactions and no minimum balance.
Fund your account via Interac e-Transfer, direct deposit (such as paycheques), or by linking other bank accounts. You’ll receive 2.25% interest on your balance, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly. There is no physical debit card associated with your Neo Money account, so you won’t be able to use it to make only purchases, but they do offer another solution for that.
Neo Financial also offers Neo Card, a cashback MasterCard with tons of perks. You can use your Neo Money account to pay your monthly Neo Card balance, allowing you to use the card to make purchases online and in person. You’ll earn an average of 5% unlimited cash back at over 7000 of Neo Financial’s partners and a welcome bonus of up to 15% cashback on your first purchase.
They have two Neo Card options depending on your credit score so that all Canadians can access their services, except those from Quebec. Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Neo Credit Cards.
Tangerine is probably one of Canada’s most well-known online banks, serving over 2 million clients. They are a subsidiary of Scotiabank, a highly reputable Canadian bank, so you can trust their financial services.
You get free access to Scotiabank’s ATMs and those in Scotiabank’s Global ATM Alliance. Although they don’t have physical branches, they do have what they call ‘cafés’ which you can find in major hubs like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. You can use these cafés to pop in and speak to a café associate to ask any questions you have.
Tangerine offers both chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts.
Their no-fee daily chequing account is their most popular, which offers free daily chequing transactions, and gives you interest on the money in your account. The amount of interest depends on how much money is in your account, but you can earn up to 0.10%.
They also have five different savings accounts:
- High-Interest Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- Tax-Free Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- RSP Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- USD Savings Account (0.10% interest)
- RIF Savings Account (1.05% interest)
There is no minimum balance or monthly fee on any of their savings accounts. And with the tax-free savings account, your interest isn’t taxed. You can open an account online in minutes, and they will ship your card directly to your house. Tangerine bank accounts can be opened by any Canadian resident, regardless of which province you live in.
KOHO is more of a financial tech company than an online bank, but it still deserves a spot on this list. They’ve partnered with Mastercard to offer the Koho Prepaid credit card in three different account options, each with different perks.
Their base account has no account fees, 0.5% cash back on all purchases and extra cash back at select merchants. Their app also has a feature called RoundUp, which rounds up each purchase and stores your spare change away. You can preload your spending money to stay on budget and access free financial coaching and spending insights to ensure you manage your spending.
Also, you can get your paycheque deposited directly into your KOHO account or fund your account yourself from an external account. Because your Koho card is a pre-paid credit card, not a traditional credit card, you won’t have to pay any interest, making it more like a debit card.
KOHO also offers a premium account with a $9.00 monthly fee, but you’ll receive 2.00% cash back on groceries, transportation and restaurants, plus price matching and financial coaching. And lastly, they have a joint account so you can set up shared savings goals and easily share finances.
It’s incredibly quick and easy to set up your KOHO account online or through the app, and you can link your account to your Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. KOHO is available for all Canadian residents.
4. Alterna Bank
Alterna Bank is the digital subsidiary of Alterna Savings Credit Union, which is based in Ontario. They’ve been around for over 100 years and have won many awards, including The Best Bank for Millenials from The Globe and Mail and Best Personal Banking award from RateHub.
This online bank has high-interest savings accounts, chequing accounts, and mortgages. Like most online banks, Alterna Bank doesn’t have branches except for two locations in Gatineau, so everything needs to be done online. That said, you can use thousands of ATMs surcharge-free in the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and even more in the American Allpoint Network.
Their chequing account, the Alterna No-Fee eChequing Account, offers no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, free Interac eTransfers and a 0.05% yearly interest rate on your balance. Their High-Interest eSavings account has a 2.00% interest rate with no minimum balance required, free transactions and unlimited Interac eTransfers. They also offer a tax-free savings account and RRSP accounts. Applying for your online account only takes 5 minutes, and you can easily manage your accounts via their website or mobile app.
They are also one of the best online banks in Canada for supporting small businesses. They offer small business eChequing accounts, small business lines of credit, and payment processing using Mobile Pay. The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation insures all deposits. Alterna Bank accounts are available for all Canadian residents and come with a physical debit card.
5. EQ Bank
EQ Bank is frequently touted as one of the best neobanks in Canada for savings accounts. It is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, a Canadian bank specializing in residential and commercial real estate lending services. They launched their personal banking arm, EQ Bank, in 2016.
EQ Bank has multiple different savings account options with no fees and no minimum balance requirements. They don’t offer a chequing account, and therefore there is no physical debit card available with this account. You also won’t be able to withdraw cash. But you can use their online banking service or mobile app to transfer your funds between bank accounts.
Their most popular account is the EQ Bank Savings Plus, which is more like a blend of a chequing and savings account, with free Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, no minimum balance and no fees. The account receives 2% interest which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.
EQ Bank is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a way to earn high interest on savings that you don’t plan on spending for an extended period. You can link your savings account directly to your other bank accounts to easily transfer money between them. International money transfers are also inexpensive. Their other account options include:
- EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- EQ Bank Non-Registered GICs
- EQ Bank TFSA and RSP GICs
- EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plan
- EQ Bank Joint Account
- EQ Bank US Dollar Account
One thing to note about banking with EQ Bank is that accounts are unfortunately not open to residents of Quebec. And you must be over 18 and have a Social Insurance Number.
6. Simplii Financial
Simplii Financial (formally PC Financial) is the digital subsidiary of CIBC, another one of Canada’s most popular banks. They have no monthly or annual fees for their accounts and offer many different accounts with unlimited transactions and e-Transfers. Since they are part of CIBC, you’ll be able to use CIBC ATMs without paying any fees.
Simplii Financial offers a No Fee Chequing Account, High-Interest Savings Account, RRSP or Tax-Free Savings Account, USD Savings Account, and special student banking offers.
The chequing account comes with a debit Mastercard that you can use to shop online or in-store. You can also set up direct payroll and pension deposits and overdraft protection. The interest rates for the savings accounts aren’t as high as some other online bank accounts. However, they offer frequent sign-up bonuses such as high-interest periods or monetary bonuses. Plus, unlike many other accounts, you don’t have to lock your money away for an extended period to reap the benefits of your interest. The annual interest rate for savings accounts is 0.40%, calculated daily and paid out monthly.
Simplii Financial also offers eligible Canadians personal lines of credit and cashback visas. Residents of Quebec do not qualify for a Simplii Financial account, but all other Canadian residents do as long as they are of legal age of majority and have a Social Insurance Number.
7. Wealthsimple Spend & Save
Wealthsimple is a popular Canadian all-in-one investment management tool. They have a range of different wealth management products, including a cryptocurrency trading platform, investment advisement platform, automated tax-filing service, stock trading platform, and hybrid chequing/savings account called Wealthsimple Spend & Save, previously called Wealthsimple Cash.
With a Wealthsimple Spend & Save account, you can instantly send money to people in your contacts list, and they can do the same for you. It basically operates like a money transfer app, similar to Venmo or CashApp, which are available in the United States.
There are no monthly account fees or minimum deposit amounts to have a Wealthsimple Spend & Save account, plus you’ll receive a cash card that works just like a regular debit card. When you make purchases using your Wealthsimple Spend card, you’ll get 1% back in cash, crypto or stock.
You can also link your card to your Google or Apple Pay and make purchases that way. It’s incredibly easy to set up an account via the Wealthsimple app, and you can start using your account even before your physical card arrives. Once you have your physical card, you can make cash withdrawals from ATMs with a daily withdrawal limit of $1000. All Canadian citizens are eligible to open an account with Wealthsimple Spend & Save.
8. Outlook Financial
Outlook Financial is the digital arm of Assiniboine Credit Union Limited, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It’s a smaller and lesser-known online bank, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great option. They offer simple and straightforward high-interest savings accounts and GICs for Canadians.
When you open an account with Outlook Financial, you will also become a member of Assiniboine Credit Union. This membership gives you access to expert financial advice and a say in who is on their Board of Directors. The Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba guarantees all deposits, so you know they are safe and secure.
The high-interest savings account has no monthly package fee and no minimum balance, but as its primary function is as a savings account, you’ll only get one free debit card purchase per month and one free ATM withdrawal. It will cost $1.00 for every additional purchase or withdrawal.
The interest rate on the Outlook Financial high-interest savings account is 2.60%, which is higher than many other online banks and why it’s worth opening an account with them. But don’t expect to use this account as freely as a chequing account, as you will end up racking up fees if you’re making lots of purchases, withdrawals and money transfers. Any Canadian citizen can open an account as long as they are 18 years of age.
Motusbank is another online bank owned by a credit union. The digital arm of Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union was launched in 2019 to meet the demands of Canadians seeking convenient, low-fee banking options. They have a wide range of bank account options, including no-fee chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, mortgages, personal loans, and investment opportunities.
Their no-fee chequing account requires no minimum balance and has free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers and unlimited debit purchases and withdrawals. You’ll also receive 0.15% interest on your account balance and be able to access their unique Price Drop feature, which gives you money back if they find a better price for an item you purchased.
The high-interest savings account. TFSA and RRSP savings account all have a 1.85% interest rate, which is highly competitive with other online banking options. They also have frequent sign-up bonuses where you can receive higher interest rates for a set period.
With your Motusbank account, you can use ATMs in the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and American Allpoint Network, giving you free access to over 43,000 machines. Motusbank is available to all Canadian residents except those living in Quebec.
10. Nest Wealth
Nest Wealth is a Canadian digital wealth management company. This online bank is best suited to those looking to open online investment accounts. They have some of the lowest portfolio management fees in Canada, and you can build a personalized investment portfolio in as little as five minutes. Their platform is easy to use and allows you to see how much you hold and earn so you can monitor your progress towards hitting financial goals.
Nest Wealth does not have traditional chequing or savings accounts. Instead, it’s an account to put your money in and leave it to grow. They take care of the monitoring and rebalancing of your investment profile by building your portfolio from 7 different Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) asset classes to ensure the lowest risk with the highest potential for gains. They base this on how much you’re trying to save and when you plan to take out your money.
There are fees associated with a Nest Wealth account that are based on the amount of money you have invested. These start at $5.00 monthly for under $10,000 in your account. All Canadian citizens are eligible to open an account with Nest Wealth.
11. Achieva Financial
Achieva Financial is another savings-only online bank account owned by Cambrian Credit Union. They have one of the highest-interest savings accounts available to Canadians with a whopping 2.85% interest rate.
They also offer GICs, with growing interest rates based on the term. On a 5-year term, you’ll receive a 5% interest rate. There is no monthly fee for an Achieva account, no minimum balance required, plus you get one free transfer or pre-authorized debit per month. Remember, this is a savings account, so it’s not meant to be used as a daily chequing account.
Achieva Financial also has a TFSA, RRSP Savings Account, and RRIF Account. You can make cash withdrawals via ATM at any machine in the Acculink Network in Canada without paying a surcharge. But for all other ATMs, you’ll pay a $2 fee in Canada or $3.50 for international withdrawals. That’s in addition to the base $0.60 ATM withdrawal charge, with a maximum daily withdrawal limit of $400. All residents of Canada can open an account with Achieva Financial.
12. Wealth One Bank of Canada
Wealth One Bank of Canada has positioned itself as the go-to online bank solution for those new to Canada, especially in the Chinese community. That said, they have online savings accounts that are great for all Canadian residents.
Their high-interest savings account, tax-free savings account and RRSP savings account all have a 2.60% interest rate, and they even have a business savings account with a 0.50% interest rate. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements and free unlimited transactions to any linked accounts. To send an Interac e-Transfer to an unlinked account, you’ll pay $1.50 per transaction.
Unlike other online banks, Wealth One has two physical locations, both in North York and Vancouver, plus you can reach them via telephone if you prefer to talk to someone rather than use email. They have reps available in English, Mandarin or Cantonese.
They also offer GICs, residential mortgages (both fixed and variable rates) and commercial mortgages. Any resident of Canada can open a Wealth One Bank of Canada account as long as they are over 19 years old.
13. Motive Financial
Motive Financial is the digital division of Canadian Western Bank and a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. They offer chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, GICs, RRSPs and tax-free savings accounts.
The Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account has no monthly fee, unlimited free transactions and free Interac e-Transfers. You’ll also receive 0.25% interest on your bank account balance. You’ll be able to withdraw from any ATM in The EXCHANGE Network for free and receive two free withdrawals per month from non-EXCHANGE Network ATMs.
The Motive Savvy Savings Account has no monthly fee, unlimited transfers between accounts, free deposits and two free withdrawals per month. You will pay a $5.00 fee for every additional withdrawal and $1.00 per Interac e-Transfer. The interest rate on the funds in your savings account is 3.00%, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.
They have an easy-to-use mobile app where you can open your account and manage your finances daily. You can also use the app to track your account activity and access different financial calculators, like a retirement planner. Motive Financial is unfortunately not available to residents of Quebec at this time.
14. Manulife Bank
Manulife Bank is the online banking arm of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. They offer one of the most flexible online banking packages of any other competitor with their All-In Banking Package.
This package includes an everyday banking account, high-interest savings account with 1.25% interest, travel insurance, and various savings tools. There is a monthly fee of $10 for this entire package, but they will waive the fee if your closing balance is at least $100 higher than the previous month (which is a great incentive to save)! You get free Interac e-Transfers, unlimited debit purchases in Canada and free withdrawals from ATMs in The Exchange Network.
If you’re looking for an online savings account with a high-interest rate and aren’t so concerned about daily transaction needs, then Manulife Bank also has its Advantage Account. This account offers a 3.50% interest rate and free unlimited banking if you keep your balance above $1000.
For those wanting to bank in USD, they also offer a US Dollar Advantage account. You can open an account with Manulife Bank via their website or mobile app as long as you’re a Canadian citizen.
Online banks in Canada: The Takeaway
As the demand for hassle-free, low-fee online banking increases, more great Canadian digital banking solutions are popping up. Here we’ve listed 14 of the best online banks in Canada so that you have many options to choose from and can pick the one that suits your needs.
Those looking for a daily chequing account would do best with banks like Tangerine, Motive and Alterna. And those looking for high-interest savings accounts should look at Achieva, Wealth One and EQ Bank.
FAQs About Online Banks in Canada
Paying your property tax through online banking is done the same as sending money to anyone via your online banking. You’ll need to set up your city as a payee via your online banking platform. When setting up the payee, choose the province associated with your bill. Then enter your city name as the payee, and you should see a dropdown that says your city name and ‘tax’ or ‘taxes.’ When it asks for your account number, enter your roll number, which you will find on your property tax account statement. From there, you can just transfer the money as usual, making sure to send the exact amount.
TD Bank’s online banking platform is called EasyWeb. It’s easy to set up; you just need your TD personal banking details. Head to the TD personal banking page and click ‘Register’ under EasyWeb Online Banking. Then enter your details (including Access Card number), confirm your identity, choose a unique username and password, and you’re good to go!
Most online banking platforms will allow you to deposit a bank draft online by taking a photo of it with your smartphone or tablet and uploading it via their mobile app or online banking. Each bank is different, so check with the customer support of your personal bank to determine if you can deposit your bank draft through them.
To pay your Bell internet bill through online banking, you will need to set up Bell Mobility as a payee on your online banking platform. Search ‘Bell Mobility’ and then use your 14-digit customer identification number as the account number. Make sure that when you transfer the funds, you transfer the exact amount stated on your internet bill.
Opening an account with a Canadian online bank is quick and easy. Once you’ve chosen the best online bank for you (see above for 14 great options), you can head to their website or mobile app and apply. You’ll need to be the age of majority in your province and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for most online banks. After you register, you’ll need to verify your identity to activate your account. Once verified, you can begin funding and using your account. Some online banks will send you out a debit card, whereas others don’t offer a debit card.
Compare dozens of Canadian chequing accounts and find the one that best suits your needs.
About The Author: Arthur Dubois
Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since his arrival in Canada, he’s built his credit score from nothing.
Arthur invests in the stock market but doesn’t pay any fees because he uses National Bank Direct Brokerage online broker and Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor. He pays for his subscriptions online with his KOHO prepaid card, and uses his Tangerine credit card for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.
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